The monster International Home & Housewares Show hit Chicago a couple of weeks ago with 2,000+ exhibitors and some 60,000 attendees. This is the place for retail buyers — from the likes of Walmart to small specialty shops — to gain perspective and see what’s new.
Celebrity chefs and their wares were in abundance — for good reason. A top trend is the return of The Kitchen as the connecting point within a home. For meeting, eating, working and entertaining, the kitchen has become the hub. People are cooking again, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to save money. Often for health. Most interestingly for self expression and status. That’s right — status. This has divergent meanings, from social standing to being eco-conscious.
A highlight of the show for me was a keynote presentation by Tom Mirabile, the SVP, Global Trend & Design at Lifetime Brands, entitled, “Staying Relevant to an Unpredictable Consumer.” From fashion to food to housewares, many marketers are operating with a dangerously outdated view of today’s consumers. For instance, most people look at a “married with kids” family as typical when in fact only 20% of U.S. households fit that mold.
Currently in the U.S., two groups — Boomers and Gen Y’s — account for the largest numbers. While Boomers are trying to age gracefully, Gen Y’s are resourceful and seeking ways to express their creativity. Yet a desire for wellness factors into the food choices of both groups in a big way as people realize that to enjoy a higher quality of life, health is critical.
What were some of the key insights from the show? Functional Design was celebrated as evidenced by the shapes, colors and ergonomics of kitchen gadgets and wares. Appliances that allow for personalization were in abundance, like the Soda Stream machine that allows the user to create infinite varieties of flavors. Eco-friendly products were pervasive with lots of bamboo and other natural materials. And this is the show where Pantone unveils the color of the year. Going into 2014, let’s all celebrate Emerald (PMS 17-5641) for a big dose of harmony and balance.
I’ve recently noticed a fair amount of media coverage on a supposed “phenomenon” – men who shop for groceries. Absurd, right?! From St. Louis, “Schnuck Markets released consumer research showing that 6 percent more men have become their household’s primary shopper compared to five years ago.” The story goes on to cite an ESPN study that found men do the shopping 31 percent of the time, up 14 percent from the 1980s.
The way most of the coverage is framed, you’d think it was 1942 again. While multiple reasons for men heading to the stores are cited, the weak economy is viewed as the biggest force at work here. Apparently more out-of-work men are home and need to pick up some of the chores. It is inferred that women are the “breadwinners” so men are forced to shop and prepare meals.
Never mind that men and women increasingly share household management duties and anecdotally grocery shopping seems way more fun than other “chores” – like vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom. Or that the incidence of marriage and “traditional families” in the US has plummeted (and has been declining for decades). Men are single “heads of household” and single parents, too. And if they don’t get to the grocery store once in a while, they’ll starve.
We’ve tracked the increase in male shopping – and their growing interest in food – in our last 5 years of buyer surveys here at CBD. Our recent research points to a much more meaningful trend – that is, guys actually enjoy exploring the grocery aisles. Men are cooking more, they like to try new things and they are taking responsibility for what they eat.
This year, we’ve found that:
- Younger men (29 and under) often shop for themselves and are motivated most by convenience. They shop often (not stocking up on items), shop quickly and purchase spontaneously.
- Gen X men (30–45) are the least likely to shop for specific dietary needs. These are the guys often shopping for a family. Expedience and budget are their primary drivers.
- Boomer men (46–60) are more leisurely shoppers who are not as convenience oriented and the least price-conscious of any group, male or female.
Most retail environments and product manufacturers struggle with how to attract the male shopper. It’s funny to read about stores setting up a “man aisle” with beer, batteries and beef jerky. Seriously? Men are that stereotypical? Maybe so. But there are more meaningful ways to get their attention, such as product sampling. Men in our survey said they will often purchase a product they try at a store, regardless of price, if they like it. And once a man likes a product, his loyalty is far higher than that of his female counterpart’s.
Retailers may also consider other strategies for engagement outside of the store. Social media is a big channel in food/beverage, yet the influence of social media on product selection is much stronger for women than men. Women across all generations are 3x more likely than men to engage with brands via social media. Providing a unique social media experience for men could be an excellent area of exploration for brands and marketers.
Packaging and advertising may yet be other areas of opportunity. CPG companies and retailers have catered to women for so long, often portraying men as inept in the kitchen. Big mistake! In doing so, they have missed the opportunity to gain the loyalty of the second largest group of buyers.
We will soon be publishing our White Paper on our study. If you’d like a copy, please email James Patrick Schmidt at email@example.com.
This time of the year brings out a sleigh full of consumer insights based on actual shopping behavior that delight marketers’ understanding of today’s consumer. Noted below are a few stocking stuffers as gleaned from Experian Simmons and Acxiom during the current holiday period:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of holiday season emails are being opened on mobile – up slightly from the just prior to the season.
- Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw major increases in both online traffic and email volume. Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and Cyber Monday traffic increased by 11%. Likewise, email volume was up 23% on Thanksgiving and 29% on Cyber Monday.
- Led by Black Friday offers, campaigns with offers in the subject line made up almost 30% of all campaigns sent this past week.
- For the week of 11/17/2012, visits to Cyber Monday websites increased by 259% compared to last year.
- Describing your brand as ‘Best’ in the subject line leads to the highest open and click rates for gift guides.
Forty-two percent (42%) of US adults have purchased gift cards in the past year.
And here is the answer to that annual question “What is this year’s hot item” based on search queries:
- Cyber Monday capped the weekend off with a 30% jump from last year, showing retail peaks at roughly 11:23 a.m. EST.Monday was a great day to use company time to get your shopping done. Good news is, many were not using the company network to tie up traffic as there was a tremendous shift to mobile browsing and more importantly mobile shopping/commerce ( 2X over last year).
- With over 7% of holiday retails sales attributed to some form of tablet purchase, online user experience will be all about touch-based navigation.
- While mobile is shifting online behaviors, consumer adoption of mobile payment services is also rising. PayPal reported a 200% increase in transactions through this past weekend.
What here surprises you?
Okay, I may be jumping the gun a little bit on this. But anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love Christmas… a lot. One of my favorite songs year-round is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” (My friends can attest to this, whether or not they do so happily.) My sister and I used to perform adorable renditions of “Sisters” from White Christmas using umbrellas instead of fans. I have a pair of pajama pants that say “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Really.
But one of the very best things about Christmas—or any holiday around this time—is that it’s all about giving. While it’s the perfect opportunity to take a moment and really appreciate the things we have, it’s also a time to think about others. Especially those who struggle during the holiday season.
This will be my first year living on my own around the holidays, which means I’ll have to handle a few things myself, including Christmas cards. So I was thrilled to learn about JDRF’s extensive holiday card collection.
The choices are practically unlimited, with creative artwork and a beautiful message. By purchasing and sending these cards, you’re not just ticking off a laundry list of family and friends. You’re supporting a hard-working foundation in its journey to find a cure for those suffering from Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).
Taking a cue from my good friend Don Harder, making a change begins in your world. The smallest changes can make a huge difference—you just have to find them. This season, try to look for ways to complete your holiday to-do list that positively impact other people. You’ll be surprised how many are out there. And the best part is that you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to end… You can start right now!
Waking up this morning to temperature in the 50s was an in-your-face reminder that this week officially closes out our glorious summer season. Out comes the fall wardrobe and a realization that some of the clothes relegated to the back of the closet aren’t going to work this year. Some no longer fit; others were never quite the right purchase in the first place. Others are too worn out to see the light of day.
Did you know that Americans throw 85 percent of their clothes and other unwanted textiles in the trash each year? Most of us think that charities want only those items that can be resold in their thrift shops. While these are the most valuable donations, other castoffs can still make millions for charities on the secondary market
As part of CBD’s Meaningful Month, we are encouraging employees and friends to find better ways to dispose of used items than tossing them in the trash, which is why CBD is collecting on behalf of an organization called Bottomless Closet (http://bottomlesscloset.org/).
This particular non-profit organization supports women in their quest to enter the workforce by supplying clothing suitable for interviews and an office environment. They offer free image coaching in an effort to give women the confidence in their appearance that is so important when searching for a job.
The founding mission of Bottomless Closet is “to elevate the employment potential and marketability of women welfare recipients who want to work. It will provide clothing, at no charge, to women on assistance who don’t have suitable clothing to wear to a job interview.”
So, if you have professional, good quality women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, hose or handbags, you can take them to Bottomless Closet in downtown Chicago the second Saturday of each month (except January and September). Or, drop them by CBD’s office any time this month—we’ll handle the delivery.
But what if you’re a guy? Or what if your clothing isn’t suitable for professional office wear? There are multiple other ways to donate your used clothing items.
Resale shops are a good option for clothing that is “gently used.” The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries are two of places that accept any type of clothing. What they can resell, they will. The rest goes to the secondary market which includes selling used clothes in developing countries and recycling them for industrial uses. That means repurposing textiles for wiping rags or even adding to things like asphalt.
Don’t worry about ripped shirts, clothes without zippers, stained linens or ragged socks… textile recycling is a $1 billion business, which means significant revenue to places like the Salvation Army.
So, de-clutter your closets and get organized for fall (and winter)! There are plenty of charitable organizations that will make wonderful use of all of the good, bad and truly ugly items that don’t work for you anymore.
I could have sworn I was an eight. But no matter how I shimmy, squeeze or shake, these babies aren’t sliding on. A slight panicky moment flushes over me; did I magically become a ten in the last hour? I check the jeans I wore to the store and sigh. Nope. I am indeed an eight. Furrowing my brow, I compare the jeans I am wearing to the ones I am trying to buy. Both are eights, but these new ones look suspiciously smaller…
Sound familiar? It’s called vanity sizing. It’s when a store sizes a brand up or down to give its primary buyers a little ego boost. The idea is to make everyone feel better about their purchase. Of course, as the tale above tells, this is not always the case.
So what can we do? More importantly, how can we shop?
Imagine a machine with a walk-in chamber. Like a carnival ride, you stand in a designated position, and the chamber is sealed shut. (Claustrophobia!) A motor churns, and a whirling sound initiates a scan. It rolls over your body. A quick beep notifies you when the device is done. The chamber opens. A receipt prints. Around 200,000 different measurements are recorded—telling you your perfect size in every available store.
As futuristic as it sounds, this machine exists. And the even stranger part? There’s more than one company producing it. Me-Ality™, My-Best-Fit™ and Bodymetrics are just a few. Each produces a device to find a perfect fit. All are geared towards ending what some may consider a size-ist problem.
But, what really hits the spot is how this will change the shopping world. From a marketing perspective, the ideas that could go along with this are endless: Think offering coupons with each sizing. Think recommending clothes for certain body types.
And the more this technology grows, the more intriguing it will get. (A personal sizing scan in your phone, anyone?) But before we jump to any amazing promotion ideas, let’s address the first issue—Would you use a machine like this? Tell us your thoughts. This week for CBD’s Meaningful Month, we’ll be talking clothes. We’d love for you to join our conversation.
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